The Anatomy of an Enchanting Blog Post
Building your online authority is not child’s play.
You’ve got to churn out solid super-helpful posts…consistently.
Not once. Not twice. Not thrice.
You’ve got to fuel the insatiable content marketing engine.
Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. One post at a time. Rinse and repeat until you start seeing results.
Think it’s easy? Think again my friend. The harsh reality is the majority of business blogs are outright failures. They don’t attract nor retain readers. They don’t drive traffic, generate quality leads, or boost your authority as a consultant.
In short, they suck.
So, to help your blog not just survive but thrive, I’ll walk you through six qualities of a hypnotic blog post readers love.
Ready to dive in?
#1. A CAPTIVATING HEADLINE
Your headline’s the first thing your reader sees. Botch it and it’ll be the last. Depending on who you ask, you have 5 seconds or less to make a reader stay.
So a strong headline is crucial.
First, be clear not clever. Avoid the rookie mistake of being too cute. You’ll lose readers. Next, make your headline specific. Which one’s the better headline below?
#1. How I Grew My Business Through One Guest Post
#2. How I Made $1776 In One Week Through One Guest Post
The second one wins hands-down. Why? It’s hyper specific.
Inject some emotion into your headlines through sensory (aka power) words. Sensory words delight, tease and engage — they attract more attention.
Here are some action steps to help you become a better headline writer:
- As a basic rule focus on reader-benefits in your headlines.
- Get a headline swipe file so you don’t start from scratch.
- Write at least 5 versions of the same headline until you find a winner.
- Start with a simple how to headline if you’re stuck.
- Use tools like Co Schedules headline analyzer to test your headlines.
A great headline stands out in swamped social media streams, captures readers’ attention fast, or arouses curiosity.
Henneke Duistermaat shows us how it’s done in this post.
Note the triple power words ‘delightful, dazzle, and dance.’ What a delicious and fascinating title.
After the headline, you’ve got to pull the reader into the post through your introduction.
#2. AN ENGAGING OPENING
While a powerful headline gives your content a chance to get read, it’s only half the battle.
Your opening lines are crucial. They determine if your prized reader reads on or clicks away. A great blog introduction sustains and accelerates the momentum started by your stellar headline. Keep these tips in mind when drafting your introductory lines:
- Open with a short sentence that sucks in readers in a flash.
- Use short story or anecdote linked to your subject.
- Start off with a question or a series of questions.
- Cite a relevant quote or statistic that ties in nicely with your subject.
- Shock your reader through a contrarian statement.
- Use metaphors and similes to take your reader on a mental journey.
- Hook the reader with an emotional opening by describing in detail the emotion the reader’s going through.
Here’s how Aaron Orendorff opens his post ‘How To Engage And Captivate Your Audience’:
He uses a powerful anecdote then quickly ties it to his subject.
Good openings set the reader on a slippery slope so they keep reading. Hopefully, on and on until the end.
#3. SCINTILLATING SUBHEADS
Lure your readers further down the page using scrumptious subheads.
Good subheads are like a good soapy. They keep you hooked and eager for the next episode portion of the post. Let your subheads tell the story of your post in a few words. Here’s the essence of this post in subtitle form. The elements of a captivating blog post are:
#1. A captivating headline
#2. An engaging opening
#3. Scintillating subheads
#4. People-friendly language
#5. Reader-friendly formatting
#6. A resounding close
You can scan the post’s subheads and get the gist in just seventeen words. But how do you do it?
- Use crisp n pregnant statements that mesmerize readers.
- Focus on the benefits to the reader so they read on.
- Avoid cryptic hard-to-get subheads that baffle readers.
- Tantalize and flirt with readers so they’re keen to read more.
- Add a subhead every few paragraphs to guide readers along your post.
- Ensure subheads are linked to the headline to keep readers focused.
Dandy subheads sum up the main points and whet reading appetite.
Here’s an excellent example from Freelance Writing on an imaginary post entitled ‘Tips For Installing Solar Panels At Home’:
The subheads are clear, eye-catching, and follow a consistent pattern.
#4. PEOPLE-FRIENDLY LANGUAGE
Want people to gobble up your content?
Then write like a human to humans.
First, write in a conversational tone as if you’re speaking to a friend. If you use a dry thesis style your readers will bounce off.
Don’t stuff your posts with keywords. Not only is it unnatural, it annoys readers as well. Besides, you’re not going to get any SEO benefit from such an approach. It’s so outdated and uncool. Write for humans foremost and then tweak for robots later.
Also, use simple everyday language not nerve-grating gobbledygook. What’s gobbledygook anyway? It’s an overused (and often elaborate) catchphrase that has lost its meaning. High sounding nothing. Jargon takes time to process and confuses readers.
Delight your readers by replacing bombastic language with simpler words.
Here’s an example:
Maria used our world class solution-driven widget to catapult her domestic satisfaction to unprecedented levels.
Maria used our popular time-saving widget to free up 2 hours in her daily schedule. She’s thrilled because she spends the extra time playing with her toddlers and massaging her jaded husband.
I’m sure you agree with me. Plain English in the second version’s the clear winner.
#5. READER-FRIENDLY FORMATTING
For your content to get read, you’ve got to format it right.
Don’t slap readers with a slab of text. They’ll vamoose. Perhaps never to return again. Blocks of text are hard to read and strain the eyes. Break your piece into short 2-5 sentence paragraphs.
One sentence paragraphs can do.
See what I did there? Even a one-word line will do.
Plenty white space around your paragraphs gives your words space to breathe. Importantly, it makes for pleasant reading. Here’s some more ways to enhance your articles readability and impact:
- Use bullets to quickly run through a list of points and give readers’ eyes a much needed break.
- Bold and/or italicize certain words or sentences to emphasize specific points by drawing reader’s eyes.
- Use tantalizing subheads so your post is easily scannable and more appealing.
- Include relevant images to break chunks of text, underline the verbal message or give readers a visual snack.
- Use text callout boxes and block quotes to stress key points and add variety to your post structure.
Smart formatting promotes efficient reading, underlines key points, and makes the post more appealing.
Here’s a snippet of a well-arranged piece from Grow And Convert:
Take note of:
A bold subhead in a bigger font, a combination of long and short paragraphs, bold to introduce a new concept—and finally, italics to draw attention to a definition.
#6. A RESOUNDING CLOSE
Don’t dismay your readers through a bland dismal conclusion.
A weak ending leaves people feeling cheated. They sense something’s off.
Come up with a conclusion that inspires, challenges, or energizes your readers. Strive to leave people with a great impression of your brand.
Follow these simple rules to round up convincingly:
- Sum up your main points…go over your major points to hammer them home so they’re fixed in readers minds.
- Urge readers to take action… encourage your audience to implement one of your points.
- Close with a motivational blast…make your readers believe they can do what you discussed in the post.
- Show them the promised land…point out the blissful lives they’ll lead if they apply your advice.
- Spark off a discussion…ask a focused question to get comments and foster engagement.
- Pull the subscriber net in…link you a useful resource like a report or a content upgrade and grow your list.
- Ask a loaded question…asking a great question makes people reflect on or respond to your post.
End strong. End high. End resoundingly.
Neil Patel concludes a post about conclusions (*wink) by summing up his points:
Simple but effective.
An ace blog post magnetizes your audience.
It leaves them thrilled about your brand and services/products. It guides them further down your funnel. It keeps them coming back for more. Above all, it makes them trust you more as an authority in your space and be more likely to buy from you.
But it takes hard work and finesse.
With steady commitment and practice you can do it.
What are you waiting for?
Go write a quality post that woos your audience and grows your business.